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Teaching to Musical/Rhythmic Intelligences

The module discussed the fact that this type of learner needs music for a learning environment. What are some practical ways of applying this in a classroom setting?

Playing music in the background may work for a few students, but once when I tried it, some of the students asked me to turn it off because it bothered them. Another time, I allowed a student to listen to his own music (privately on a CD player--this was before the ipod) while he was writing an essay in class. Ironically, I was unable to use that time to grade papers as I usually do because I found the music too distracting (yes, I could hear it despite the fact that he was several rows away from where I sat).

Obviously, I need help in developing ways to teach to this type of intelligence.


Hi Sandra,
The music can be used prior to the class starting or break times. It doesn't have to be played during the actual class sessions. This way the music will not disrupt their thought process. Also, keep in mind individuals that have as one of their dominant intelligences music don't necessarily care about music in total. Musical people like sequence and order in their lives. So you are appealing to the musical intelligence when you are organized and have a clear sequence of instruction in place for the student. Just as music has to follow a sequence and order so does musical intelligence learners.
Any additional question on this please let me know.

I find that playing classical music softly works.

Remember this is also a rhythmic intelligence. One way I have found to relate to these type of learners is encouraging them to retain and study based on this intelligence. Our brains easily remember songs, patterns and I have had several students create songs, jingles to remember quiz and test info.

For these type of learners, how lessons sound and how effectively a teacher lectures are also key, as these individuals are likely to be auditory learners as well.

Hi Summer,
Good point about the learners that like to see sequence and rhythm to content they are learning. This is part of the connection part of learning for students. Through songs and patterns they can increase their retention of content.

I think it may be the type of music.Also the age of the listener.It is a personal taste.I play jazz,because the relaxing effect.You will have some complainers.Finding the station with more options seem to work.Most of the time they ask for music.

Good point Summer. In some of my classes, when appropriate, one part of the midterm or final review is to put my students into groups and have them make up a poem using as many of the test terms as possible. They don't have to rhyme the terms themselves, only the concepts. It fulfills the need for sequence. I am always amazed at what some students can do in such a short time period. Especially since I don't grade this assignment, it is just part of the review. They are more relaxed, thus more creative. Of course, this doesn't work in all type of classes.

With some creativity on the part of the instructor, rythmic cues and alliteration (a series of similar sounds) can be infused into a lecture to help musical/rythmic learners to retain important points. Short rhymes can envoke mental images that also appeal to visual learners as well.

Hi Carla,
Good strategies for incorporating different deliveries to appeal to the different intelligences. Thank you for sharing them with us.

I think that having the student listen to music while studing would probably give positive results as long as everyone used earphones and listened to the music that they liked best.

I enjoy listening to music when I am reading. It helps me to enjoy the reading materials.

As a welding instructor, a few of my students listen to music while they practice. I believe that it does help some folks tune out their frustrations and just weld!

Hi Matt,
Anything like that that helps with concentration is a good way to support student learning. As a very poor welder I could only hope that music would help my welds to hold and look nice.

I teach English Comp. II and I allow my students to listen to music on their own when they are working on their rough drafts in class. I find this helps them stay focused on their task. The students who cannot concentrate, have the choice of going to the computer lab to work in a more quiet environment. Both strategies work for my students.

Hi Angela,
This is what customizing your instructional plan is all about. You are helping your students to be successful as a result of their selecting their music, and study location. Simple things but things that make a real difference in keeping the students engaged.

The use of music in the field advertising has caused many of us to remember a catch phrase or phone number as a result of their "jingle".

Many years ago, as a cub scout leader, I found that the boys were having trouble memorizing the "Law of the Pack" until we changed the words from "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to "The cub scout follows Akela..."!

Hi Sharon,
Thanks for sharing this strategy with us. It is simple little things like this that stick with us and help us to remember things for many years to come.

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